Bringing the world together through art
BIENALSUR, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South America, presents an unprecedented thought-model in Argentina and on a global scale, which vindicates the right to culture. Through this premise, it develops new dynamics that contribute to integration, inclusion, coexistence and respect for diversity among peoples. From an expanded platform, BIENALSUR proposes dialogue meetings, exhibitions, actions and exchanges.
To create socially responsible art, BIENALSUR’s premise is to expand its audiences beyond elite borders, through interventions in emblematic public spaces in different cities, free exhibitions in museums, centers and institutions and generating actions in the public space by developing a platform of inclusion that integrates different sectors of society.
“[We consider] the right to culture to be a human right.”
In its 2019 edition, BIENALSUR brings together more than 400 artists from five continents simultaneously, in 100 venues, in 43 cities, in 23 countries, with the conviction that the cultural dimension is key to breaking down borders ,and to thinking about possible dialogues between diverse socio-political and cultural universes.
Considering the right to culture to be a human right, BIENALSUR operates through contemporary art. In this way, BIENALSUR, is a projet capable of bringing down walls through critical thinking and respect for diversity, in a world that builds walls.
By proposing a new, horizontal and democratic dynamic, BIENALSUR breaks the traditional rules of the art system and invites artists and curators from all over the world to present their projects. It is from there that the thematic axes of each biennial emerge, giving rise to a real change of “order” in the instituted protocol. With this and other “undisciplined” gestures, BIENALSUR is placed as an alternative that lends its voice not only to artists, intellectuals, curators or cultural operators, but — and very especially — to those who are usually marginalized within the system.
In the Open Call, by identifying the themes that are the conceptual axis of each edition, BIENALSUR becomes the catalyst of contemporary debates.
For example, one of the central axes of the last edition of BIENALSUR is “Migrations, transits and borders”, a pressing theme that is increasingly addressed by creators from all continents, from different perspectives and poetics, alluding in different ways to displaced persons, refugees, exiles and migrants.
“[…] an alternative that lends its voice not only to artists, intellectuals, curators or cultural operators, but — and very especially — to those who are usually marginalized within the system.”
It is from this perspective that we seek to deepen the dynamics of interactive, polyphonic and horizontal networking that we have been developing with the aim of making BIENALSUR an instrument capable of contributing to cultural integration, respect for diversity and, with it, to peace promotion.
Driven by a public university, and being independent and apolitical, BIENALSUR has the ideal conditions to tend to this objective.
In a world that builds walls — of cement and wire, but also symbolic ones — BIENALSUR seeks to build bridges and erase borders.
In its first edition in 2017, its particular cartography included 16 countries, 32 cities and 84 headquarters, which generated an impact on more than twenty-five million people of very different nationalities and origins. In this second edition, BIENALSUR 2019 continues to grow and involves more than 44 cities from 23 countries in more than 100 venues that raise a multiplicity of voices. A novel and disruptive project such as BIENALSUR is, without a doubt, an instrument for Peace, insofar as it thinks and works with and among others. It thus offers to give perceptions of “us” and “others” a conscious condition and with it, a reversibility that tends to favor the recognition and respect for differences.
BIENALSUR is based on dialogue and the exchange of ideas, which is why the Paris Peace Forum is a privileged space to make the project visible and multiply the voices, throughout the world, who yearn to join this multicultural, polyphonic and horizontal network.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Aníbal Jozami, General Director of BIENALSUR
Aníbal Jozami is a sociologist specialized in international relations, a businessman and an art collector. He is the Rector of the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero and the Director of the museums of the same university. In 1993, Jozami founded the Foro del Sur Foundation, a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to gather political, business and academic leaders to formulate state policies for South America. In 2015 the culture ministers of the South American countries appointed him to organize, promote and direct the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South
Diana Wechsler/ Artistic and Academic Director of BIENALSUR
Diana Wechsler holds a Ph.D. in Art History and is a CONICET head researcher. She directs the “Dr. Norberto Griffa” Research Institute and the Master’s Degree in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies of the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. She is the Deputy Director of the museums of the same university. She is a Chair Professor of Argentine Art at the UBA and has received fellowships and subsidies, such as the Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Getty Foundation. She directs national and international research projects and has received awards for Curatorial Studies and Art Essays from the International Association of Art Critics and for Scientific Production from the Argentine Senate.